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The Hitachi 61SDX01B only has an NTSC tuner (analog). You will need a set-top box to watch digital (ATSC (OTA) or QAM (unencrypted digital cable) signals. For OTA signals, the digital-to-analog converter boxes that were sold with the government coupon were limited to SD output. HD converter boxes are available but cost more.
As of 6/12/09, the over-air broadcast signals went to digital (ATSC) only. Your set does not have and ATSC tuner so it can not receive the new digital signals. The converter box converts the ATSC signals to the NTSC channel 3 or 4.
First Converter boxes are a poor economic investment. Second you have an HDTV. It does not need a Converter box. Just connect an amplified antenna.
Built-in ATSC QAM Tuners - QAM and ATSC tuners included to enable the set to receive Digital cable-in-the-clear signals, as well as digital terrestrial broadcasts. HDTV reception is possible by adding an Optional HDTV antenna
I just checked the owners manual online. Looks like this model only has an NTSC analog tuner. No ATSC digital tuner built in.
If you use cable or satellite TV services, the digital converters won't help you. The coupon-eligible ones are strictly for use with a traditional antenna. If this is your situation, ignore the remainder of this message.
If you use a regular TV antenna with this TV, then, yes, you will need a converter box. FYI, the Insignia model at Best Buy and the Zenith at Circuit City, and elsewhere (radio shack) have gotten good reviews from early purchasers. More converter box models will be available in a few months time.
If your current reception with your antenna is poor (snowy), you may have problems receiving the new DTV signals. If not, you should be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the DTV signals - and the extra "virtual" channels. Try the converter box using the RCA video and audio inputs, for a slightly better picture than with the coaxial cable inputs.